Tosca’s New Album is a Deep, Dark Journey

By Dave Wedge

Richard Dorfmeister and Rupert Huber have been methodically churning out impassioned downtempo and ambient albums since the mid-1990s.

They’re well aware that today’s super-club and massive festival crowds are ravenous for high-energy thumpers.

But the Vienna, Austria duo are certain there are many electronic fans ready and willing to take a more serene, emotional digital journey with them.

“It’s definitely not something you can put on a big festival stage,” Dorfmeister says of their live performances. “But we’re always working on our live show, to do the ambient thing, but maybe add some more beats. We’ve expanded the whole thing. For a half hour, we just keep building and building. It works.”

“We love to be not so obvious straight away,” he adds. “We like to play around.”

The pair’s new album, Odeon, just released on !K7, is a deep, dark journey but it’s not all ambient bleeps and blips.

“What If” is a sexy, digi-soul cut featuring soft vocals from Sarah Carlier. It’s a downtempo number with a jazzy bottom, acoustic guitars, and lush synths that will please fans of Air, Royksopp or even Sade. “Heatwave” is a meandering nu-funk/soul trip with whispering vocals from J.J. Jones.

If you detect a hint of British collective Bomb the Bass, don’t be surprised, as Dorfmeister famously collaborated with that crew on the classic ’90s trip-hop track, “But Powder Dust,” which featured a young Justin Warfield rapping.

“We’ve compared (the new album) with our old albums and I would just say it’s more down and more deep than it used to be,” Dorfmeister says. “That’s just us.”

“It’s more downtempo with some darker elements,” Huber adds. “We just do it. We don’t discuss doing drum & bass or garage. It’s just our sound.”

They’ll be launching their new live show in April with a performance at the new Opera House in their hometown of Vienna. They’re planning dates across Europe before heading back to the U.S. They’ve played San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York in the past and Dorfmeister says he has a “good feeling” their sound will resonate in the States.

“We trust in the music. We’re not following any trends,” he says. “I’m aware of the phenomenon at the moment. But I think there are some people that don’t want music that is high-energy or high-frequency. There are still some people who just want music that is from the heart, that’s pure. That’s a niche.”

Odeon is definitely from the heart and is a soul-soothing listen. It demands your full attention, so it’ll be intriguing to see what they come up with for a live show.

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